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Tag: aguinaldo

TARLAC, TARLAC: Capital of the Philippine Republic, 1899 (To Celebrate Tarlac City Fiesta, 20 January 2013)

Published by Tarlac Star Monitor:

The Tarlac Church, site of the 1899 Philippine Revolutionary Congress (Lino Dizon Collection

 TARLAC, TARLAC:  Capital of the Philippine Republic, 1899[1] 

Michael Charleston “Xiao” B. Chua[2] 

Department of History, De La Salle University Manila

I grew up in a time when television news reporting in the Philippines was Manila-centric and I felt that our province was insignificant, despite a Tarlaqueño president, because it was rarely cited in TV Patrol and I even felt that when Ernie Baron gives the thypoon warnings, all Central Luzon provinces would be warned but not even Tarlac has a storm signal.  Even history textbooks seldom mention significant events in Tarlac despite it being one of the first eight provinces who joined the Philippine Revolution in 1896.

Years later as a student of history, while doing research at the UP Main Library, I stumbled over a very old booklet by a Tarlac school teacher, Mrs. Aquilina de Santos entitled Tarlak’s Historic Heritage.[3]  It outlines the legacy of the province in the national history, specifically when it became seat of the Philippine Republic under Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo from 21 June to 12 November, 1899.  I also read the scholarly work of our foremost historian Lino Dizon on the Tarlac Revolutionary Congress.[4]   In their writings, and other historical documents I learned that if there was TV Patrol back then, Tarlac could have dominated the news because as capital of the republic, a few significant things happened here that our national textbooks seem to reduce in a sentence or a footnote.

After the fall of Aguinaldo’s capital, Malolos, Bulacan, to the Americans, the Philippine Revolutionary Congress reconvened on 14 July 1899.  Seats for provinces not represented have to be filled in by Luzon people, a number of them Tarlaqueños, such as:  Don Jose Espinosa (Tayabas), Servillano Aquino (Samar), Marciano Barrera and Luis Navarro (Leyte), Alfonso Ramos (Palaos Islands), Capt. Lazaro Tañedo (Zamboanga), Gavino Calma (Romblon), and Francisco Makabulos (Cebu).

The Altar-Mayor of the Tarlac Cathedral with the prominent statue of Apung Basti (San Sebastian). 1930s. (Lino Dizon Collection


Ten days after the convening of the Congress, an article appeared in the revolutionary paper La Independencia criticizing the Tarlac Revolutionary Congress.  The article entitled “Algo Para Congreso” (Something for Congress), signed by PARALITICO, pointed out that the Congress was a failure.  No less than Apolinario Mabini, Sublime Paralytic and Brains of the Revolution, wrote the article in Rosales, Pangasinan on 19 July 1899.  He pointed out that the Congress, as convened in Tarlac, was not even a representative of the people; that the elections for Congress should not have been held because the Aguinaldo government was fighting a war; and that a declaration of principles is much more suitable in a revolution instead of using a constitution copied from French and South American Republics, which were made in times of peace.

Yet, despite Mabini’s criticism and the Philippine-American War at the background, the Congress enacted laws.  By doing so, according to University of the Philippines constitutional historian Sulpicio Guevarra, they “marvelously succeeded in producing order out of chaos.”  The Tarlac Revolutionary Congress convened in San Sebastian Cathedral in Tarlac, Tarlac.  This humble sanctuary became a witness to the First Philippine Republic realizing its fullest potential as a government, despite limiting circumstances.

Some significant decrees issued in Tarlac were the prescription of fees for civil and canonical marriages (28 June), the prohibition of merchant vessels flying the American flag from territories held by the Philippine Republic (24 July), the provision for the registration of foreigners (31 July), the organization of the Supreme Court and the inferior courts (15 September), and the promulgation of the General Orders of the Army (12 November).  The latter was even issued a day after the fall of the Aguinaldo government.

Another one of the early decrees of Aguinaldo in Tarlac was that on the establishment of the Bureau of Paper Money, 30 June 1899.  In the printing press of Zacarias Fajardo the first paper money were printed—the one peso denomination, followed later by the five-peso denomination.   Paper bills of two, five and twenty pesos were also printed.  For the coins, a maestranza or mint was established on the building of the Smith, Bell, & Co., at a property owned by Don Mauricio Ilagan in Gerona, Tarlac.

Another one of the early decrees of Aguinaldo in Tarlac was the clemency granted to the Spanish prisoners who defended the Baler Church, 30 June 1899.  Fifty Spanish soldiers, popularly known in Spain as “Los Ultimos de Filipinos,” made their last stand inside Baler Church.  Filipinos held constant siege of the church, yet despite deaths, diseases, starvation and loneliness, the Spaniards held out for 337 days.  On 2 June 1899, the 33 surviving Spanish troops surrendered, Filipinos received them shouting, “Amigos, amigos!”  Aguinaldo recognized the bravery of these men, and decreed that they should not be treated as enemies but as brothers.  They were issued safe conduct passes and were allowed to go back to their Madre España.  The event, which manifested the bravery of the Spaniards, the benevolence of the Filipinos, and the enduring friendship between two sovereign nations more than a former colonizer and colonized, is being celebrated today as Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day on the date of the Aguinaldo Proclamation from Tarlac.

Not only was the Philippine Republic the first democratic republic in Asia, we also had the first Filipino University in Tarlac.  The Philippine Revolution of 1896 interrupted the schooling of most young Filipinos, many of them working in the Philippine government.  This can be attributed as the reason why education was top priority by the First Philippine Republic despite the fact that the times were difficult.  As mandated in a decree dated 19 October 1898, the Universidad Cientifico-Literaria de Filipinas (Scientific and Literary University of the Philippines) was established in Malolos, Bulacan.  When Malolos fell to the Americans, the schools have to close down.  As mandated in a decree dated 9 August 1899, the university, together with the Burgos Institute (secondary school), was re-established in Tarlac.  The Tarlac Convent beside the San Sebastian Cathedral was used as the school building.  But because of the hostilities around Tarlac, all these plans were disrupted once again.  On 29 September 1899, the first and last graduation rites for the Literary University were held, the diplomas signed by Aguinaldo himself.

On 23 September 1899, the Imprenta Nacional (owned by Tarlaqueño Zacarias Fajardo) came out with the booklet Reseña Veridica de la Revolucion Filipina with Emilio Aguinaldo as its titular author.  An English version, the True Version of the Philippine Revolution, was also published translated by Marciano Rivera and corrected by a certain Mr. Duncan, probably for American readers.  Aside from being the very first work on the Philippine Revolution ever published, the work also condemned the atrocities of American expeditionary forces in the Philippines.  For Carlos P. Romulo, this added significance to an already important work because it presaged My Lai and other atrocities committed by American Forces during the Vietnam War by over half a century.

On 23 October 1899, the ex-communicated Filipino priest, Fr. Gregorio Aglipay, convened the Filipino clergy in Paniqui, Tarlac (the site is now part of Anao town) to affirm their common struggle against the Archbishop of Manila, Bernardino Nozaleda, and their common stand that the Holy See in the Vatican should recognize their petitions.  They came out with the Constitutiones Provisionales de la Iglesia Filipina(Provisional Ordinances of the Philippine Church), which “provided temporary regulations for the church in the Philippines due to the exigencies of war.”  This gave the impression that the document is a constitution for a new church.  Some even mistake the event as the founding of the new church, which, by this time, was still yet to happen until Aglipay and Isabelo de los Reyes would severe their ties from Rome and establish the Iglesia Filipina Independiente commonly known as the Aglipayan Church.

Tarlac is the terrain where so many battles were fought between the Philippine Army and the superior American Forces.  Yet despite the war that was being fought, it was socially alive during the brief stint there of the First Philippine Republic.  Fiestas and dinners drew crowds.  One such function happened on 2 November 1899, a formal banquet was held at the Teatro de Tarlac hosted by the Asamblea de Mujeresspearheaded by the president’s wife, First Lady Hilaria del Rosario Aguinaldo.

But these would all be over in days time.  By 11 November 1899, Gen. Arthur Macarthur was entering Tarlac Province.  But the Filipinos won’t let him through without a fight.  The 300 to 400 troops under the command of Gen. Makabulos, backed-up by Gen. Servillano Aquino’s brigade, tried to stop the Americans along the Bamban-Concepcion road.  But Macarthur’s 3,000 strong army was too much for them.  When night came, the Americans already had Bamban, Capas and Concepcion.

The next day, Gen. Macarthur and his troops entered Tarlac town, drenched in rain.  They have captured the seat of government, but Aguinaldo and his men were nowhere in sight.  They had fled.  In a few days, the Philippine Army would be disbanded.  For Nick Joaquin, this was the collapse of the Filipino nation, “The Republic had fallen.”

The Philippine Republic in Tarlac was not a mere footnote in history, for in that brief stint of the Aguinaldo government in the province, so many things were tried to be accomplished despite the limiting circumstances of the war.  Economic and educational institutions were raised up to be the foundation of government.  In Tarlac, the republic showed the world that we Filipinos could govern ourselves at that early stage.  Tarlac, therefore, is as historically significant as Malolos, Bulacan.  It is part of the story of our development as a nation, and our government as it is today.

Xiao Chua in front of Apung Basti at the Tarlac Cathedral, November 2011


Therefore, it is vital that young Tarlaqueños, as future leaders of our province, should be made aware of their own historic heritage.  As much as they learn the history of our country, our continent and our world in schools, so must be that they learn their province’s local history. To know our past is to know ourselves.  It tells us who we are, how we were and how did we become what we are today.  It also gives us a sense of direction for the future.  Screw people who think that life is all about the money; history gives us a sense of pride, and a sense of identity, that in no way we would feel the emptiness of non-belonging.

[1]               Expurgated and edited version of an undergraduate paper, “A FOOTNOTE IN HISTORY, Tarlac: Seat of Government of the Philippine Republic, 1899,” originally for Kasaysayan (History) 111 under Dr. Ricardo Trota José in the University of the the Philippines at Diliman.  Presented at  the 4th Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day Conference Workshop at the Aurora State College of Technology (ASCOT), Baler, Aurora on 29 July 2006.  It was published as a commentary in the third issue (December 2005) of Alaya:  The Kapampangan Resesarch Journal of The Juan D. Nepomuceno Center for Kapampangan Studies, Holy Angel University, Angeles City.

[2]               Mr. Xiao Chua, 29, is currently an Assistant Professor at the De La Salle University Manila and Ph.D. Anthropology student at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, where he also finished his MA and BA in History.  He is a native of Tarlac City.

[3]               Mrs. Aquilina de Santos, Tarlak’s Historic Heritage (Manila:  Benipayo Press & Photo-Engravers, 1933).

[4]               Lino Lenon Dizon, Francisco Makabulos Soliman:  A Biographical Study of a Local Revolutionary Hero (Tarlac:  Center for Tarlaqueño Studies, 1994); Tarlac And The Revolutionary Landscape (Tarlac:  Center For Tarlaqueño Studies, Tarlac State University/Holy Cross College, 1997); “The Tarlac Revolutionary Congress” in The Tarlac Revolutionary Congress of July 14, 1899:  A Centennial Commemoration (Tarlac City:  Center for Tarlaqueño Studies, Tarlac State University, 1999);  “The Philippine Revolutionary Government, from Malolos to Bayambang (1898-1899)” in Kasaysayan:  Journal of the National Historical Institute, Volume 1, No. 4, Decdember 2001, pp. 1-15.

XIAOTIME, 10 December 2012: TREATY OF PARIS, Nang Ipagbenta ang Pilipinas sa US

Broadcast of Xiaotime news segment earlier, 10 December 2012, at News@1 and News@6 of PTV 4, simulcast over Radyo ng Bayan DZRB 738 khz AM:

Ang pag-uusap para sa kapayapaan sa pagitan ng Estados Unidos at Espanya sa Paris noong 1898.

Ang pag-uusap para sa kapayapaan sa pagitan ng Estados Unidos at Espanya sa Paris noong 1898.

10 December 2012, Monday:

Makasaysayang araw po, it’s Xiaotime!  Nais kong magpaalam sa aking mga estudyante sa DLSU Manila ngayong ikalawang termino ng taong akademiko 2012-2013, salamat sa ating samahan at magkita-kita tayo sa kampus, sana batiin niyo pa rin ako.  114 years ago ngayong araw, December 10, 1898, nang pirmahan ng Estados Unidos at ng Espanya ang Treaty of Paris na nagtatapos ng Spanish-American War.  Huh?  E ano naman sa atin ito???  Liwanagin natin.

Pagsasalarawan ng pagsabog ng USS Maine sa pantalan ng Havana, Cuba.

Pagsasalarawan ng pagsabog ng USS Maine sa pantalan ng Havana, Cuba.

Noong February 15, 1898 , sumabog ang USS Maine, isang barkong Amerikano na nasa pantalan ng Havana, Cuba.  Sinisi ang mga submarinong Espanyol sa paglubog nito bagama’t matapos ang 100 years kanilang natuklasan na sunog sa coal bunker ng mismong barko ang dahilan ng paglubog nito.  Anuman, nagamit ang insidente upang magdeklara ang Estados Unidos ng Estado ng Pakikidigma sa mga Amerikano.

Detalye ng mural ukol sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas sa bukana ng ikalawang palapag ng Palma Hall (AS 2nd floor lobby) na nagpapakita ng pakikipag-usap ni Hen. Emilio Aguinaldo sa mga Amerikano.

Detalye ng mural ukol sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas sa bukana ng ikalawang palapag ng Palma Hall (AS 2nd floor lobby) na nagpapakita ng pakikipag-usap ni Hen. Emilio Aguinaldo sa mga Amerikano.

Sa kontekstong ito, nakipag-usap sa Singapore si Heneral Emilio Aguinaldo kay Consul E. Spencer Pratt at Consul Rounceville Wildman upang tulungan ang mga Pilipino na makamit ang kasarinlan mula sa Espanya.  Ayon kay Aguinaldo, sinabi raw sa kanya na aalagaan ng mga Amerikano ang Pilipinas at pananatilihin ang kasarinlan nito tulad ng ginawa nila sa Cuba.  Samantalang sa mga aklat ng mga Amerikano, makikita nila na wala naming dokumentasyon na nagpapatunay ng mga sinabi ni Pratt.  Kumbaga, para sa kanila dapat hindi lamang ito verbal para maging opisyal habang sapat na sa ating mga Asyano ang palabra de honor at kung minsan insult pang magpasulat.  Pinadala ng Amerika si George Dewey upang pataubin ang pwersang pandagat ng mga Espanyol at nabansagang “Hero of Manila” habang sa buong Pilipinas, ang mga bayan ay pinapalaya na ng mga Anak ng Bayan.

George Dewey, larawan na nasa National Portrait Gallery ng Estados Unidos

George Dewey, larawan na nasa National Portrait Gallery ng Estados Unidos

Paglalarawan sa Battle of Manila Bay na pinagwagian ni Dewey laban sa armadang Espanyol, May 1, 1898.

Paglalarawan sa Battle of Manila Bay na pinagwagian ni Dewey laban sa armadang Espanyol, May 1, 1898.

Sa napipintong pagkapanalo ng ating himagsikan, isinulat ni Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista sa pagpapahayag ng kasarinlan ng Pilipinas na nilagdaan noong June 12, 1898 na ang ating bansa ay, “…under the protection of our Powerful and Humanitarian Nation, The United States of America.”

Proklamasyon ng Pagsasarili sa Kawit, Cavite, June 12, 1898.

Proklamasyon ng Kasarinlan sa Kawit, Cavite, June 12, 1898.

Naku sa Proklamasyon pala natin ng Independensya, itinali na natin ang sarili natin sa kanila, kaya nariyan pa rin ang impluwensya nila.  Sa pag-asa sa isang salita ng isang dakilang bansa ipinahayag natin ang ating kasarinlan.  Ngunit, pasikreto palang nakikipag-usap ang mga Amerikano at ang mga Espanyol.  Noong August 13, 1898, ginanap ang Mock Battle of Manila kung saan nakuha ng mga Amerikano ang Maynila mula sa mga Espanyol.

Nang makuha ng mga Amerikano ang Fort San Antonio Abad sa Ermita mula sa mga Espanyol matapos ang pekeng labanan sa Maynila, August 13, 1898.

Nang makuha ng mga Amerikano ang Fort San Antonio Abad sa Ermita mula sa mga Espanyol matapos ang pekeng labanan sa Maynila, August 13, 1898.

Mock sapagkat peke pala ito.  Niluto na ito upang matalo ang mga Espanyol ng may dangal.  Nagsimulang magpulong ang dalawang imperyo sa mga suite rooms ng Ministeryo ng Ugnayang Panlabas sa Paris, Pransiya noong October 1, 1898.

Huling araw ng pulong para sa pagbubuo ng Tratado ng Paris, December 10, 1898.

Huling araw ng pulong para sa pagbubuo ng Tratado ng Paris, December 10, 1898.

Tulad ng isang sariling estado, ipinadala ng Kongreso ng Malolos ang matalinong abogado na si Felipe Agoncillo upang katawanin ang Pilipinas, pinagsarhan lamang siya ng pintuan at hindi pinansin ng dalawang panig sa Paris.

11 Felipe Agoncillo

Nilagdaan ang tratado noong December 10, 1898 at napagkasunduan na ibigay ang Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam at Pilipinas sa Estados Unidos.  Ang Pilipinas nakuha sa halagang $ 20 Million.  Hindi raw pagbebenta ito, bayad lamang ito sa mga nagastos ng Espanya upang “paunlarin” ang mga lugar na ito.  Nang ang maling balita na ang mga Pilipino ang unang nagpaputok sa pagsisimula ng Philippine-American War noong February 2, 1899, after two days, ang hating Kongreso ng Estados Unidos ay bumoto sa ratipikasyon ng tratado,  sa botong 57 to 27, isang boto lamang ang sobra upang sumapat sa 1/3 vote na kinakailangan sa ratipikasyon.

17 “special relations” sa Estados Unidos

Naging legal sa pananaw ng Amerikano ang kanilang pananakop sa atin.  At dito nagsimula ang isang siglo na nating “special relations” sa Estados Unidos, kung saan, tulad sa pananalita ni Renato Perdon, tayo ay naging Brown Americans of Asia.  Ako po si Xiao Chua para sa Telebisyon ng Bayan, and that was Xiaotime.

(Makati City, 6 December 2012)


Broadcast of Xiaotime news segment earlier, 21 November 2012, at News@1 and News@6 of PTV 4, simulcast over Radyo ng Bayan DZRB 738 khz AM:

Ang Altar-Mayor ng Katedral ng Tarlac na may estatwa ni Apung Basti (San Sebastian),1930s. Ito ang sayt ng pagpapatuloy ng Kongreso ng Unang Republika ng Pilipinas, 1899.

21 November 2012, Wednesday:

Makasaysayang araw po, it’s Xiaotime!  Pinababatid ng Pamahalaang Panlungsod ng Tarlac at nina Cloydy Manlutac at Dong Bautista:  Magsaya, kumita at bumili para sa tuloy-tuloy na sigla!  May tiangge sa plazuela ng Tarlac City hanggang December 8!  Lingid sa kaalaman ng marami, ang aking bayang sinilangan, ang Tarlac, Tarlac ay hindi lamang bahagi ng walong sinag ng araw sa ating bandila ng mga unang umaban sa mga Espanyol, naging kabisera din ito ng Republika ng Pilipinas mula June 21, 1899.  113 years ago noong isang linggo, November 12, 1899, bumagsak ang kabiserang ito nang sakupin ng mga Amerikano ang bayan.  Bagama’t hindi gaanong nababanggit, ang pananatili ng Unang Konstitusyunal na Republika sa Asya sa Tarlac ay hindi lamang dapat maging isang “footnote” sa ating kasaysayan, sapagkat dito, maraming nangyaring mahalaga.  Matapos masakop ng mga Amerikano ang kabisera ng Republika sa Malolos, muling nagpulong ang Kongreso sa Katedral ng San Sebastian sa Tarlac noong July 14, 1899.

Katedral ng San Sebastian sa Tarlac, Tarlac (ngayo’y lungsod) sa panahon ng Unang Republika, 1899.

Sa kabila ng tuloy-tuloy na pakikipagbakbakan ng sa mga Amerikano, patuloy na gumawa ng batas ang Kongreso na ayon sa constitutional historian na si Sulpicio Guevarra, “[they] marvelously succeeded in producing order out of chaos.”  Ilan sa isinabatas nila ang mga butaw para sa pagkakasal, ang pagbabawal sa mga barkong nagpapalipad ng bandilang Amerikano, ang pagpapatala ng mga dayuhan, ang pagtatatag ng Korte Suprema at mga hukuman, ang promulgasyon ng General Orders ng Hukbong Katihan o Army.  Sa Tarlac rin itinatag ang Bureau of Paper Money kung saan sa palimbagan ni Zacarias Fajardo inilimbag ang mga mamiso, dos, cinco at beinte pesos.  Sa Gerona, Tarlac naman ginawa ang mga barya sa  Smith, Bell, & Co.

Ang mga perang papel at barya na inilibas ng Unang republika sa Tarlac.

Noong June 30, 1899 binigyan ng amnestiya ang mga huling sundalong Espanyol na sumuko sa Katipunan sa Baler, Aurora at tinawag na mga “amigos” na nagpapatunay hindi lamang ng tapang ng mga Espanyol kundi ng kabutihan ng mga Pilipino.  Nagpapatunay din ito na ang tunay na nagtagumpay sa himagsikan laban sa mga Espanyol ay tayong mga Pilipino.  Ang araw na ito ay ipinagdiriwang ngayon bilang Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day.

Los Ultimos Filipinos, ang mga huling sundalong Espanyol na sumuko sa Katipunan sa Baler, Aurora na nabigyan ng amnestiya mula sa Unang republika sa Tarlac.

Ang Simbahan ng Baler kung saan nagkuta ang Los Ultimos Filipinos, 1899. Sa mga Espanyol, liban sa Maynila, ang Baler ang naaalala nilang lugar kapag naritinig ang pangalang Pilipinas.

Gayundin, ang unang unibersidad na Pilipino, ang Universidad Cientifico-Literaria de Filipinas at ang hayskul na Instituto Burgos mula sa Malolos ayt nagpatuloy sa Kumbento ng Tarlac.  Sa tanging graduation nito noong September 29, 1899, pinirmahan mismo ni Pangulong Aguinaldo ang mga diploma.

Casa Real ng Tarlac, opisina ng panguluhan ni Emilio Aguinaldo, nasa sayt ngayon ng Tarlac State University.

Sa Casa Real ng Tarlac na ngayon ay sayt ng Tarlac State University, nag-opisina si Aguinaldo habang sinusulat ang pinakaunang limbag na tala ukol sa Himagsikan, the True Version of the Philippine Revolution kung saan niya tinuligsa ang mga atrocities o brutalidad ng mga Amerikano sa mga Pilipino.

Ang unang limbag na kwento ng Himagsikan sa perspektibang Pilipino ay isinulat ni Emilio Aguinaldo at isinulat sa Ingles at Espanyol. Maraming mga historyador ang naghinuha na ghost written lamang ito hanggang mahanap ang orihinal sa Tagalog sa sulat kamay ni Aguinaldo.

Ngunit noong November 12, 1899, sa kabila ng pagtatanggol ni Heneral Francisco Makabulos at Heneral Servillano Aquino at ng 400 nilang tauhan, nakuha ni Hen. Arthur MacArthur at ng 3,000 niyang tao ang Tarlac, nagmartsa silang papasok sa bayan, basang-basa sa ulan.

Heneral Francisco Makabulos y Soliman

Heneral Servillano Aquino

Ayon kay Nick Joaquin, sa pagsakop sa Tarlac, “The Republic Had Fallen.”  Tuluyang nahuli si Aguinaldo sa Palanan noong 1901.  Sa pamamagitan ng mga kasaysayang lokal tulad ng mababasa sa bagong aklat na

Kasaysayang Pampook:  Pananaw, Pananaliksik, Pagtuturo ng UP Lipunang Pangkasaysayan, mapapagtanto natin na bawat kwento ng bayan ay mahalaga sa pagbubuo ng isang mas matibay at mapagkaisang pambansang kasaysayan.  Ako po si Xiao Chua para sa Telebisyon ng Bayan, and that was Xiaotime.

(North Conserve, DLSU Manila, 14 November 2012)

XIAO TIME, 12 November 2012 / 8 January 2014: ANG TAGUMPAY SA LABANAN SA BINAKAYAN

Broadcast of Xiaotime news segment yesterday, 12 November 2012, at News@1 and News@6 of PTV 4, simulcast over Radyo ng Bayan DZRB 738 khz AM:

Ang Labanan sa Binakayan, diorama na nasa Dambana ng Kasarinlan, Dambanang Pangkasaysayang Emilio Aguinaldo, Kawit, Cavite.

12 November 2012 / 8 January 2014:

Makasaysayang araw po, it’s Xiaotime!  116 years ago kahapon, November 11, 1896, nang magtagumpay ang Katipunan sa Battle of Binakayan sa Kawit, Cavite laban sa mga Espanyol.  Ito ang itinuturing na isa sa unang malaking tagumpay ng himagsikan laban sa mananakop at pinangunahan ito ni Heneral Emilio Aguinaldo.  Paano nangyari ito?  November 8, 1896, dumating sa mga dalampasigan ng Binakayan ang isang batalyon ng mga sundalong Espanyol na may mga suportang kanyon at nakubkob ang mga kuta ng mga rebolusyunaryo kinabukasan.  Dadalawang pulutong lamang sila ngunit kahit na nakuha na ang kanilang trintsera, hindi sila tumigil.

Monumento ni Candido Tria Tirona, mula kay Dr. Isagani Medina

Kagagaling lamang noon sa Labanan sa Talisay, Batangas ni Heneral Candido Tria Tirona nang samahan sila at mapasabak ulit sa labanan sa Binakayan alas-cuatro y media ng hapon noong araw na iyon.  Subalit napagod sila at nagsipagpahinga.  Kinabukasan, dumating ang tropa ni Heneral Crispulo Aguinaldo at sabay-sabay na nilang inatake ang napakalaking pwersang Espanyol.

Crispulo Aguinaldo, mula kay Dr. Isagani Medina

Nang matapos ang labanan, 600 na mga bangkay ang natagpuan, tinatayang 500 ang namatay sa mga pwersa ng Espanyol kabilang na ang isang komandante, isang kapitan, ang hepe ng marine infantry, at anim na tinyente.  Nakuha nila ang 26 na bihag, 200 mga baril na Mauser at Remington, ilang kanyon, mga gamit pang-inhinyero, daang-daang probisyon at supplies, at libo-libong mga bala.  Sa kasamaang palad, si Hen. Candido Tria Tirona, na nagpapahinga sa ilalim ng isang puno, ay natiyempuhan ng isang Espanyol na sinaksak siya sa ulo, patay.

Monumento para sa Labanan sa Binakayan sa harapan ng Island Cove Resort sa Kawit, Cavite.

Sa katotohanan, may kasabay na tagumpay ang labanan sa Binakayan na hindi gaanong nababanggit, ang labanan sa Dalahican, Noveleta, may anim na kilometro mula Binakayan.  Nabawi ang mga kutang rebolusyunaryo sa pamumuno ng mga Magdiwang na sina Heneral Santiago at Pascual Alvarez, Heneral Artemio Ricarte, Heneral Mariano Riego de Dios at Henerala Gregoria Montoya, na sa kasamaang palad ay namatay din sa labanang iyon.

Detalye ng monumento para sa Labanan ng Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite.

Ito ang pinakamalaking pagkabigo na nalasap ni Gobernador Heneral Ramon Blanco na mismong nanguna sa laban.  Naging sikreto ng mga taga-Kabite noon ang mga Western-style na mga trenches na itinatag ng inihinyerong nag-aral sa Belgium na si Edilberto Evangelista.

“Governor Blanco and His Troops” ni Felix Martinez, 1895. Nakasabit sa Pambansang Sinupan ng Sining ng Pambansang Museo ng Pilipinas.

Sa kasamaang palad nang lumusob ang mga bagong pwersang Espanyol, ang marami ay pinabalik ng Maynila mula sa pakikipagbakbakan sa mga Moro, ang mga trintserang nagpanalo sa Cavite ay makukubkob din sa mga susunod na mga buwan dahil madaling palibutan ang mga ito, kabisado ang istilo at nagamit pa ng mga Espanyol.

Ang mga trintserang itinatag ng mga taga-Cavite na gamit-gamit ng mga Amerikano, mula sa Kasaysayan: The Story of the Filipino People.

Ngunit ang Labanan sa Binakayan ang nagbigay ng status noon kay Heneral Aguinaldo bilang buhay na alamat at magaling na pinuno na nauna nang nagtagumpay at nakuha pa ang espada ni Heneral Ernesto de Aguirre, chief of the general staff ng pwersang Espanyol sa Pilipinas sa Labanan sa Imus noong September 3, 1896, isang espada na gawa sa Toledo, Spain noong 1869, ang taon ng kanyang kapanganakan.

Heneral Ernesto de Aguirre, mula kay Dr. Isagani Medina

Emilio Aguinaldo at ang espada ni Hen. Aguirre, mula sa Philippines Free Press.

Nagpatunay din ito sa tapang at galing ng mga anak ng bayan noong Himagsikan.  Ito ang dapat nating sariwain.  Kasi naman, kadalasan kasi, mas naaalala pa natin ang ating mga pagkatalo.  Ako po si Xiao Chua para sa Telebisyon ng Bayan, and that was Xiaotime.

(North Conserve, DLSU Manila, 7 November 2012)


Broadcast of Xiaotime news segment earlier, 14 September 2012, at 2:15 pm at News@1 of PTV 4, simulcast over Radyo ng Bayan DZRB 738 khz AM:

Larawan ng aktwal na pagbubukas ng Kongreso ng Malolos, 15 Setyembre 1898 sa Simbahan ng Barasoain, Malolos, Bulacan.

14 September 2012, Friday:

Makasaysayang araw po, it’s Xiaotime!  Bukas, ating gugunitain ang ika-114 na anibersaryo ng pagsisimula ng Kongreso ng Malolos noong 1898.  Sa maraming aklat, makikita na bidang-bida ang Amerika dahil sila ang nagpalaya sa Pilipinas mula sa Espanyol, habang sa Amerikano, ang tawag nila sa Digmaang Pilipino-Amerikano ay insureksyon lamang dahil wala pa naman daw tayong estado noon.  Liwanagin natin.  Noong May 1, 1898, natalo ni anim na barko ni Commodore George Dewey ang 20 barkong Espanyol sa Battle of Manila Bay, ngunit wala siyang ground troops.  Ang mga Anak ng Bayan ang muling lumaban at pinalaya ang bawat bayan sa mga Espanyol.  NANALO TAYO SA HIMAGSIKAN.  Ipinroklama ni Hen. Emilio Aguinaldo ang Independensya sa pag-asang kikilalanin ng mga Amerikano ang kanilang pangakong pangangalagaan ang kalayaang ito.  Ngunit, nakipag-usap na pala ang mga Espanyol sa mga Amerikano na magkaroon ng pekeng labanan upang maisuko na nila ang Maynila sa mga Amerikano.  Matapos ang pekeng labanan na ito noong August 13, 1898, pumapasok na ang mga pwersang Pilipinas sa Intramuros upang bawiin ang pangako ng Amerika.  Sila ay pinigil.  Napagtanto ni Hen. Aguinaldo na mukhang nalinlang siya, kaya dali-dali niyang inipon ang kongreso sa Malolos at nabukas nga ito, September 15, 1898 sa Simbahan ng Barasoain sa Malolos, Bulacan.  Nang matapos ng Kongreso ang Saligang Batas, nagkaroon tayo ng Republica Filipina noong January 23, 1899, ang unang konstitusyunal na demokratikong republika sa Asya.  Elitista man na itinuturing ng iba ang Kongreso, hindi maikakaila na dahil sa Kongreso napatunayan natin sa daigdig na mayroon tayong kakayahang magtatag ng isang malayang estado, at kaya nating magpatakbo ng pamahalaang may batasan, may mga kagawaran, may mga paaralan, hukbo at diplomatikong mga misyon, sa kabila ng isang digmaan.  Ako po si Xiao Chua, and that was Xiaotime.

(Pook Amorsolo, 10 September 2012)

Si Xiao sa loob ng kasalukuyang Simbahan ng Barasoain, lunduyan ng Kongreso ng Malolos at ng Unang Republika ng Pilipinas, 2010.


Xiao Chua at the balcony of the window where Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed Philippine Independence on 12 June 1898 in Kawit, Cavite with Ms. AC Canete. Photograph by Jahm Guinto, 12 February 2012.

Yesterday, when I looked at the date 13 August, I knew it was an anniversary of a really important event that I always cite in my lectures in history and my tours, just didn’t figure it our immediately.  Only later did I realize that it was the 114th anniversary of the Mock Battle of Manila in 1898, when the Americans won over the Spaniards and took over Manila after the Spaniards negotiated to just be allowed to have an honorable defeat.  Since this is also the month of the start of the Philippine Revolution, this short piece I wrote for my former column “Walking History” from the former newspaper “Good Morning Philippines,” 10 August 2011:

When Ms. Rita Gadi asked me when and where the Philippine Revolution started in 1896, I was stupefied at first.  How do you quickly explain that many witnesses produced many answers:  Kangkong (23 August), Pugad Lawin (23 August), Bahay Toro (24 August), Sitio Gulod, Barrio Banlat (near Pasong Tamo now Tandang Sora Ave., 24 August), Balintawak (26 August).  Historians Milagros Guerrero, Emmanuel Encarnacion and Ramon Villegas wrote in an article in 1996 that the now “official” August 23 Cry of Pugadlawin is erroneous (there was no such place name in 1896 maps of the area), and that it was possible that there were many cries as they were organizing people in different places.  In a 1989 column anyway, Dr. Ambeth Ocampo cleared that all those other place names cited were in the area called “Balintawak.”  So maybe it’s safer to call it Cry of Balintawak.

The possibility of many cries can be supported by two historians, Dante Ambrosio and Enrico Azicate who in 1995 tried to walk through the places cited in accounts and sure enough, a path can be established that can lead to that important battle in San Juan by early morning of 30 August known as “Pinaglabanan.”

Dr. Guerrero, et al suggested that instead of celebrating the uncertain 23 August cry, it’s better to commemorate the well documented establishment of the Revolutionary Government by the Kataastaasang Sanggunian of the Katipunan on 24 August at the house of Tandang Sora in Banlat.  This is where Andres Bonifacio was elected as the first president of the first national government in the Philippines.  This is when our bansa was born.  With this, I agree with my mentor Dr. Guerrero.

A bigger problem than the contradicting facts of the first cry are misconceptions about the revolution itself.  We Filipinos, regrettably, easily forget about the past.  And worst, many times we commemorate and emphasize our defeats.  By reading history written for us by foreigners, we look at ourselves in the point of view of the other.   Thus our colonial mentality and inferiority complex which had a long term effect on us—we feel that all good things about us came from foreigners (remember learning about pamana ng mga Espanyol and pamana ng mga Amerikano?), and that “ginhawa” can only be attained if we go out of this country.  One thing we tell ourselves is that we lost the Philippine Revolution, and it was the Americans who helped us defeat the Spaniards with the victory of the “Hero of Manila” Admiral George Dewey at the Battle of Manila Bay.

One major thing that I cherished learning from Dr. Jaime Veneracion in one of my graduate courses in UP Diliman is that he emphasized that we won the revolution against Spain and that we must credit ourselves for it as a people.

When Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, tactically agreed to go abroad after his government made peace with the Spaniards, he negotiated with key American diplomats who verbally promised that they will help the Filipinos ensure their independence.  One researcher from the National Historical Commission showed me a book by an American historian which stated that there was no evidence that the promise was ever given.  This will show us how we must be conscious of perspective when reading history.  Facts are not just facts.

On 1 May 1898, the seven-vessel Asiatic Fleet came to Manila Bay under Dewey and in the battle sunk all obsolete twenty Spanish ships.  As Dr. Ambeth said, it was a “mismatch.”  There was only one American casualty, and he didn’t die of battle wounds but of heat stroke!  But Dewey did not have ground forces and so at this point they actually haven’t occupied the Philippines.

As the Americans were returning Aguinaldo back from Hongkong aboard McCulloch, many revolutionaries around the archipelago organized themselves again.  Little by little, the Anak ng Bayan returned and took-over different towns from the Spaniards.  After one of these battles, the Battle of Alapan, the Philippine flag made by Marcela Agoncillo, daughter Lorenza and Delfina Herbosa-Rizal, was unfurled at Teatro Caviteño in Cavite Viejo (Kawit) on 28 May.  Thus we celebrate this as the start of the flag days.

Hearing about the continuous victories of the Filipinos in defeating the Spaniards who were our colonizers for 333 years, Gen. Aguinaldo acted quickly and at 4:02 PM on 12 June proclaimed Philippine Independence at the central window of his mansion in Kawit, [to] the tune of Julian Felipe’s Marcha Filipina Magdalo / Marcha Nacional Filipina.  With this self-proclamation of V-S Day (Victory Over Spain), I believe that 12 June of every year is worth celebrating by every Filipino.

One of the 97 signers of the Acta was a certain Col. M.L. Johnson, assumed by many as the representative of Dewey who couldn’t come because it was his “mail day.”  Historian J.R.M. Taylor clarified that he was not an official representative but a cinematograph operator.  This shows that the Americans don’t have any intention to honor their word.  American ground troops came and by 13 August, won against the Spaniards.  Atop Baluarte de San Francisco Javier in Intramuros, the Stars and Stripes was raised for the first time.  But it was a pre-negotiated battle, so the Spaniards can be defeated with honor, thus the monicker “Mock Battle of Manila.”  Filipino troops marched to claim the old capital but they were stopped by the Americans.  Sensing finally that the Americans were not to be trusted, he went to Bulacan, organized the Malolos Congress on 15 September, which gave birth to the First Constitutional Republic in Asia by 23 January 1899.

Although this victory was short lived as we fought once again in our war against the Americans, it reminds us that united, we can defeat any long-term problem battling us.  With this I say, wake up and be inspired to greet every new morning as we proclaim our greatness.  Good Morning Philippines!

Let me dedicate this column to my professor, Dante Ambrosio, who fought for our bayan and wrote about our constellations, thank you and goodbye.  You are now part of the stars.